Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely by MSNBC for calling President Obama a "dick" live on air.
The suspension came just hours after Halperin, a top editor for Time and a regular on "Morning Joe," profusely apologized for the remark, which came during Thursday's "Morning Joe" broadcast.
MSNBC's statement read:
Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.
Halperin also issued a statement:
I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate. Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.
Time magazine, where Halperin is Editor-At-Large, issued a statement of its own, saying it had warned Halperin about the comments:
Mark Halperin’s comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page.
The fracas even got a comment from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (himself a former top editor at Time).
"The comment that was made was inappropriate," he said on Thursday. "It would be inappropriate to say that about any president of any party, and I expressed that to executives at the network. I have no comment on whatever action that network, or any network, or any newspaper might take."
Halperin's is the latest in a string of suspensions that MSNBC has issued over the past year. Most famously, the network suspended Keith Olbermann for undisclosed donations to Democratic candidates in the 2010 election. It also suspended Joe Scarborough for making undisclosed donations and, most recently, yanked host Ed Schultz for a week for calling radio host Laura Ingraham a "slut."
Halperin's gaffe came on Thursday, when he was commenting on Obama's Wednesday press conference. He first asked host Joe Scarborough, "Are we on the seven-second delay?" implying that he wanted to speak freely but not have his comments broadcast.
Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski assured Halperin that he could speak freely and anticipated a controversial remark. Halperin said:
"I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday."
Scarborough was in disbelief over Halperin's comment and quickly directed his attention off-camera, saying, "Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing?"
Halperin apologized after the hosts realized that the show's new executive producer was not familiar with the seven-second delay button.
"Joking aside, this is an absolute apology. I shouldn't have said it. I apologize to the President and the viewers who heard me say that," Halperin said.
"We're going to have a meeting after the show," Scarborough said.
Scarborough also made light of the incident, telling his producer, “I would tell you what I think of him, but he doesn’t know what button to push."
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